LEXINGTON, Va. – The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association released its Preseason Division III Coaches Poll on Monday and Washington and Lee appears at No. 12 in the poll.
Defending National Champion Wesleyan sits atop the poll with 12 first-place votes, while runner-up Salisbury is second with three first-place votes. RIT is third and has one first-place vote, and Tufts is fourth. Amherst rounds out the Top 5 with the last remaining first-place nod.
Washington and Lee returns seven starters and 15 of its top 18 scorers from last season's team that finished 15-5 overall and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Generals placed first in the ODAC regular season and received an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. W&L defeated Transylvania by a score of 23-5 in the second round, before dropping a 10-9 overtime decision to Dickinson in the third round.
Among the top returnees for the Generals is senior attackman A.J. Witherell (Wilmington, Del. / Salesianum), who garnered USILA First Team All-America honors last spring. He tallied a school-record 91 points on 60 goals and 31 assists, and added 43 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers as well. Witherell tallied at least one point in every game he played (19 games) and had 15 games of four or more points, including a season-best seven points on four occasions.
A two-time ODAC Player of the Year honoree, Witherell currently sits in a tie for second on the school's all-time scoring list with 234 points, and he ranks fourth all-time in goals (145) and eighth in assists (89).
Junior midfielder Jack Hodgson (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher's) is also back after receiving USILA Honorable Mention All-America accolades a year ago. A two-time First Team All-ODAC selection, he set a new W&L record for faceoff wins during the 2018 campaign, winning 261-of-400 (.653) draws. He also picked up 118 ground balls and tallied eight points on six goals and two assists.
In just two seasons, Hodgson already ranks fifth on the school's career faceoff wins list (486) and is second in career faceoff percentage (.652).
The Generals will face a stiff schedule this spring that features games against seven teams ranked in the Top 20 (#6 Gettysburg, #7 York, #9 Denison, #13 Christopher Newport, #15 Roanoke, #17 Franklin & Marshall, #20 Lynchburg). The season begins on February 9 at No. 7 York at 1:00 pm.